Say no to plastic - Wild Horizons sets an example

Wild Horizons • 9 October 2019

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The world is facing a plastic problem, and it is snowballing- but so is awareness and determination to halt the crisis in its tracks.

Wild Horizons  (who operate tours and activities in Victoria Falls) and own three lodges, several cruiseboats and the Lookout Café in the area, have several strategies in place, and all of these have seen massive success.

"Nearly two years ago, we initiated a company-wide "straw war" and banned plastic straws in all lodges, on cruises and at the Wild Horizons Lookout Café.

The next phase of our long-term plan focused on plastic bottled water consumption. Guests staying with us are gifted a reusable water bottle, which they can refill at water dispensers in camp and water served on safaris, tours and during meal times is provided in sealed glass bottles filled from our filtration plant.

We are proud to report a 100% decline in the use of plastic bottled water in all our three lodges (The Elephant Camp, Old Drift Lodge and Imbabala Lodge). 

Not one disposable plastic water bottle has been used in a Wild Horizons Lodge in the last four months."

Nine million reasons to join the war on plastic

Victoria Falls has an average of almost 605,000 international visitors every year. If each visitor stays an average of 4 days and consumes 2litres of bottled water per day, over 9 million plastic bottles will be discarded annually.

Recycling programs in Africa are severely limited, and one plastic bottle can infest the earth for 450 years before the elements can decompose it. The enormity of the problem can not be ignored.

We need to change the way we think about plastic. When we ”throw it away”, where is it going? When plastic is buried, it does not nourish the earth. It leaches toxins into the soil, poisoning or ensnaring wildlife. The purpose of a safari is to appreciate the earth’s natural beauty, a pleasure and a privilege that we will go great lengths to protect.

Five tips to limit plastic waste on safari

Most plastic products take centuries to decompose, which means almost every piece of plastic ever produced is still in existence… much of it in oceans or landfills. The small changes you make now could create a big difference for future generations.

  • Say no to bottled water, and refill a reusable one.
  • If you are concerned about water quality when you explore off the beaten track areas, take a Life Straw or Steripen with you to filter out harmful bacteria. Alternatively, do some research and purchase a water bottle that has a built-in filtration device.
  • When you go souvenir or grocery shopping at local markets, take an eco-friendly cotton bag with you. These are light and very easy to pack.
  • Many people who go into rural areas are tempted to give the local children sweets, but the wrappers from these are extremely harmful to the environment. Instead, take a box of fruit with you.
  • Avoid travel-sized toiletries and plastic-packaged toiletries when you pack. Instead buy a bar of shampoo, conditioner and soap with a steel tin to store it in.

If you have bought some new gear for your trip, remove any plastic packaging it may be wrapped in and send it to a nearby recycling station. Don’t bring it to the bush.


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